is set to unveil its long-awaited mixed reality headset in the coming months. The device has been in the works for several years and will be Apple’s first new product in the category since the Apple Watch, which debuted in 2015. Many details about the device have surfaced through the rumor mill. Much of the information has already been reported in his recent article on headsets, but We’ve revealed more details about what to expect from what can be called Reality Pro.
It’s called a standalone device with an iPhone and iPad-like interface and the option to pin widgets to the home screen. Or use it as an external display for a connected Mac. According to reports, there will be an option to use a Mac, iPhone or iPad keyboard to enter text into the so-called “xrOS” operating system along with Siri voice commands. Apple appears to be working on a way to allow users to type with their hands in the air like many sci-fi movies, but this option won’t be available when the headset launches.
It is expected to have health tracking features and the option to install third-party apps. It is known that the company focused on adding support for Apple TV+ content. Apple has been in talks with Disney, Dolby and other media partners about VR content and it is believed that there will be an option to view video on a virtual screen in environments such as space or a desert. Full immersion may require users to wear AirPods or other supported headphones. Gaming can also be an important aspect of the device.
The headset’s main selling point may be Apple’s approach to hand and eye tracking. The device is believed to have sensors that can follow the wearer’s eyes and multiple external cameras that can monitor hand movements. According to the report, the idea is that users can select an item by looking at it (such as an app icon or button) and performing a corresponding action by squeezing their thumb and index finger. If this approach worked as expected, the wearer would not need to use a hand controller. Competitive headsets usually require hand controllers. Meanwhile, the headset may have a screen on the front that can display the wearer’s eyes, which may be a little objectionable to some people.
The device is expected to support virtual reality and augmented reality with the ability to switch between the two modes using the digital crown like a watch. Meta’s latest headset offers full-color pass-through for AR use, and Apple is expected to offer a similar feature.
Apple may have users in need of prescription glasses in mind. Many glasses wearers find wearing VR and AR headsets uncomfortable. However, it is claimed that Apple offers a custom lens that mounts within the headset’s enclosure, making it more comfortable to use.
One interesting aspect of the headset that hasn’t been reported before is how it handles one-to-one FaceTime calls. Previously, it was believed that the other person on the call would appear as an icon or sticky note. This is most likely still the case for group calls. For one-on-one chats where both participants are wearing Reality Pros, FaceTime will render photorealistic versions of their faces and bodies, the report suggests. It seems that this feature is not available for group calls due to processing restrictions. Other companies, like Meta, usually render you in a more cartoonish way (not including legs yet).
These features are still subject to change as the headset is months away from hitting the market. However, it looks like the Reality Pro will be powered by the M2 chipset. A second chip, dubbed the “Reality Processor,” is expected to handle the graphics and mixed reality experiences.
While other headset manufacturers typically opt for a plastic body, Apple is believed to construct the Reality Pro using aluminum, glass, and cushions that look similar to the AirPods Max headphones. However, batteries are not expected to be built into the device. According to Gurman, the battery will be in an external pack that connects to the headset via a cable and fits in the user’s pocket. It and the cooling fan can help keep the headset from overheating, but it can lead to a weight imbalance. The battery life is said to be about 2 hours.
Apple could launch this fall before the World Developers Conference in June. However, the price may deter many people interested in the Reality Pro. The headset will sell for around $3,000. It’s double the Quest Pro.
This is a gamble as Apple moves into new markets that have yet to be popularized. The report suggests that Apple expects to sell around 1 million units in the first year, and the company expects the first version of the Reality Pro to be unprofitable. Another version costing around $1,500 may not be released until late 2024 or early 2025, but is said to be in the pipeline.
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